Miners girls swimming wins state championships for fifth consecutive year
Park City Miners Class 4A swimming state championship medalists
200-yard medley relay: 1, Park City High School (Helena Djunic, Jessi Beyer, Katie Hale, Elise Beller), 1:49.05.
200 freestyle: 1, Helena Djunic, 1:53.76.
200 individual medley: 1, Elise Beller, 2:09.16.
50 freestyle: 1, Katie Hale, 24:13.
100 butterfly: 1, Katie Hale, 58.43. 6, Sabine Caplin, 1:01.96.
100 freestyle: 1, Helena Djunic, 52.50.
500 freestyle: 1, Elise Beller, 5:13.18.
200 freestyle relay: 4, Park City High School (Jessi Beyer, Lauren Pederson, Sydney Senn, Emma Strong-Conklin), 1:43.33.
100 backstroke: 4, Jessi Beyer, 1:11.29.
400 freestyle relay: 1, Park City High School (Katie Hale, Emma Strong-Conklin, Elise Beller, Helena Djunic), 3:35.87.
200 freestyle: 4, Jack Troxel, 1:46.89.
200 individual medley: 2, Cole Peterson, 1:58.52.
50 freestyle: 2, Dennis Djunic, 21.77.
100 freestyle: 4, Dennis Djunic, 48.77.
500 freestyle: 3, Jack Troxel, 4:49.12. 6, Braden Horton, 5:03.16.
200 freestyle relay: 3, Park City High School (Dennnis Djunic, Jack Troxel, Trevor Malpede, Cole Peterson), 1:30.6.
100 backstroke: 3, Cole Peterson, 52.49.
400 freestyle relay: 2, Park City High School (Dennis Djunic, Jack Troxel, Trevor Malpede, Cole Peterson), 3:17.36.
Girls top-three teams: 1, Park City High School, 355. 2, Sky View High School, 257. 3, Desert Hills High School, 252.5.
Boys top-three teams: 1, Desert Hills High School, 273. 2, Mountain Crest High School, 247. 3, Park City High School, 208.
All season, the Miners swim team has had its sights set on state. While most teams claim something similar, for the Miners, a team that has won it five consecutive times, and 10 on aggregate, it was a notion that was always behind the scenes.
At the Park City Swimvitational in December, head coach Mike Werner wouldn’t invoke the five-letter S-word. But it was clear from the outset the team was again very talented.
On Saturday, the team demonstrated its skill and hard work by taking first by nearly 100 points in the girls Class 4A state championship meet in Bountiful, while the boys took third, behind Mountain Crest and Desert Hills.
“It was fun to watch them step up, because it wasn’t just a couple (swimmers) that were winning events, everyone was swimming best times and contributing,” Werner said.
However, there are several names that jump out to anyone scrolling through the event’s results.
Senior Katie Hale helped secure four first-place finishes for the Miners, as did freshman Helena Djunic and junior Elise Beller, while juniors Emma Strong-Conklin and Jessi Beyer both helped their relay teams take first.
“It was a pretty big deal for us to win six out of the eight individual events and two out of three relays,” Werner said. “When you have kids that are that talented, it makes the others rise up and makes everyone else better.”
For Djunic’s contribution, she was named Swimmer of the Meet by the coaches in attendance.
“That’s pretty rare, for a freshman to accomplish that,” Werner said. “She just got out there and raced really well. She was a vital part of both of our winning relays, she works hard every day. … She’s a true competitor and an even better teammate.”
On the boys’ side, sophomore Jack Troxel and seniors Cole Peterson, Dennis Djunic and Trevor Malpede led the Miners.
Dennis Djunic and Troxel both helped the Miners finish in the top four in four events, while Peterson had three top-four finishes and Malpede had two.
“This was a new year for the boys,” Werner said. “We knew we were going to be down numbers, just because the meet was going to be so fast.”
To prepare, the team had raced the best teams they could schedule, including Desert Hills and Sky View, which Werner said brought out the best in the swimmers at state.
“We had all season bests on the boys side — all but one, and he was close,” Werner said. “He went out harder than he ever did before. We competed great with Desert Hills and Mountain Crest and Sky View, they just had a few more numbers than we did, but they stepped up and raced really well.”
Along with the aforementioned leaders, Werner commended sophomore Braden Horton for his performance in the 500-yard freestyle, in which he took sixth.
“That was a ridiculously awesome swim,” Werner said. “He dropped 17 seconds. … He was not in a scoring heat and he moved up a ton and just threw in a huge performance. It was pretty exciting to watch it.”
Reflecting on the Miners’ move to 4A this season, Werner said it was something he has hoped for since he started at Park City High School — not in spite of a rise in competition, but because of it.
“I always wanted my kids to swim against the best,” he said. “Since I’ve been there, we’ve had them swim against the best every year. It was great having a meet that was up in the air, where there was great competition all the way around. I think it made it that much more exciting. Every team there gave us everything we could possibly handle. It was a fun meet.”
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